by Leigh Ann Caldwell
The Charles and David Koch backed super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund has purchased a $3 million advertising buy targeting the Pennsylvania Senate race. It's a large investment in a Senate race six months before Election Day, signaling that the group is going to aggressively play in races where they are ideologically aligned with the candidate.
Freedom Partners, the main political organization of the conservative billionaire political activists, have indicated they will not get involved in the presidential election this cycle because of their dislike of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Instead, the group said it would focus its monetary heft on key Senate races.
This Pennsylvania ad, which attacks Democrat candidate Katie McGinty, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, comes less than two weeks after a $2 million ad purchase in Ohio. which is another state with a highly contested Senate race as Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman is trying to hold on to his seat.
With this Pennsylvania purchase, it brings the Koch network's spending in Senate races to $15.4 million, and they are in the process of reserving nearly $30 million worth of advertising, mostly in August and September. In addition to Ohio and Pennsylvania, the group plans to also back Republican candidates in Nevada, Wisconsin and possibly Florida.
But still, the $42 million being allocated is far less than the more than couple hundreds of million the group had budgeted to spend if it engaged in the presidential cycle.
"If a candidate were able to garner support from the public with a positive message in support of the issues we care about, and did not engage in personal attacks and mudslinging, we would consider potentially getting involved. That hasn't happened yet and there is no indication that this will happen given the current tone and tenor of the campaign," Mark Holden, Chairman of the Board of Freedom Partners said in a recent statement.
The ad, titled "Whose Job," charges that McGinty, as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection sought subsidies for companies that later paid her after her role in the government ended.
McGinty's Communications Director Sarbina Singh responded to the ad, calling it "desperate."
"Toomey - the best Senator Wall Street and the Koch Brothers ever had - is going to need all the help he can get to hide his abysmal record of putting his special interest allies ahead of Pennsylvania's middle class families," Singh said in a statement.